The Georgetown men’s soccer team had a busy weekend as it travelled to Indianapolis to face the Butler Bulldogs on Friday before returning home to play the Maryland Terrapins on Monday.
Butler (2-7-2, 0-4-0 Big East), the 2017 regular season Big East champion, was still looking for its first Big East win of 2018 when it welcomed Georgetown to Indianapolis.
The Hoyas (6-3-3, 2-1-1 Big East) dominated possession and generated a few early opportunities against the Bulldogs. As the half wore on, Butler found its foothold and began to exert pressure on Georgetown’s defense.
Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese praised the play of freshman goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis, who organized the defense and kept Butler off the scoresheet early on.
“Giannis has been doing a much better job of sorting and organizing the space behind our back four. For a young kid, he’s only 17 years old, he’s got a really nice old head to him,” Wiese said in an interview with The Hoya.
Eighteen minutes into the first half, junior defender Dylan Nealis scored off a set piece from senior midfielder Kyle Zajec, who played a ball in from the corner. Zajec found Nealis, who buried the chance and scored his first goal of the season to give Georgetown a 1-0 lead.
With two minutes left in the half, Georgetown conceded a penalty following a trip in the box. Nikopolidis made a strong save to preserve the Hoyas’ lead heading into the half.
In the 53rd minute, sophomore midfielder Jacob Montes earned a penalty after being fouled in the box. Zajec showed composure as he calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net, giving Georgetown a 2-0 lead.
Following the second goal, Georgetown controlled the game for the remainder of the half, and Butler struggled to generate offense. Georgetown left Indianapolis with a 2-0 victory.
Three days later, Georgetown returned to Shaw Field and played a 0-0 draw against the University of Maryland (4-4-3, 2-2-0 Big Ten).
The Hoyas put pressure on the Terrapins’ defense early in the half, Wiese said.
“We had some chances in the first half where they were scrambling. We had a couple of good balls to the six where [Donovan] Pines was facing his own goal and had to do some desperate clearances,” Wiese said.
The final chance to score in the first half came from the foot of sophomore midfielder Foster McCune. McCune hit a shot from outside the box that hit a Maryland defender and looked to be heading to net. The ball drifted outside the post and the game remained scoreless heading to half.
The heat began to act as a significant factor in the second half of the match, Wiese said.
“[Derek] Dodson and Achara ran out of gas and then suddenly they weren’t putting themselves in dangerous spots. When you don’t have your frontrunners in dangerous spots, you’re not going to get dangerous shots,” Wiese said.
Despite enjoying long bouts of possession, the Hoyas didn’t threaten Maryland’s goal with chances in the second half. On the other end of the pitch, Maryland continued to try quick counter-attacks but did not break down the Hoya defense.
With just over three minutes left in the second half, Georgetown had an opportunity to win the game following a shot from graduate student Matt Ledder. Maryland’s goalkeeper made a save and parried the ball out of the top corner of the net and kept the game scoreless heading into overtime.
Midway through the first overtime period, senior midfielder Ethan Lochner found himself in the box with the ball at his feet following a scramble. His ensuing shot sailed over the net and the game remained scoreless.
The match ended 0-0 after 110 minutes, and Wiese emphasized that the Hoyas did not generate chances as a team and failed to get into scoring positions.
“We didn’t get into those [dangerous] positions as well in the second half. But I would say it wasn’t so much Maryland as it was that our final pass wasn’t on,” Wiese said. The way we play, we need to be able to support the ball well and we stopped doing it. So, it became a game of individual balls out wide.”
The Georgetown Hoyas will resume Big East play when they host the Villanova Wildcats at Shaw Field on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.